Automobiles Are Great!

This started as a comment, mostly motived from this blog entry “the thing about guns“. This entry however has nothing to do with guns, but one of our other massively glaring problems in society here in the United States. This is the remark that brought this up…

“If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing….Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not.”

Actually the US is really bad at that too. The feds spend 3% of the budget on roads, then another 3% in incurring debt to build roads. Then the other 50% of those road project costs are put on the states. Thus, the feds start huge road projects and then bum them off to those least able to pay for it. These road projects, surprising are only the Interstates.

Now step into the other road situation, all the local roads and highways. Responsibilities of states & cities/counties. That’s usually 5-10% of their budget, which taken in totality, means the country spends far more than 3% on this just from taxes – combine the city, state, and federal budgets and you have a massive amount of money spent to make car usage easier. Why do I bring all this up? Because the Us continues to perpetuate this as a “market driven choice” and it is in fact absolutely not. What does this choice bring us?

  • Dramatically higher incidents of cancer. Which kills dozens of thousands of people every year.
  • Dramatically higher incidents of benzine poisoning. Which also kills thousands and thousands every year.
  • Dramatically higher incidents of poisoning. Which kills dozens of thousands of people every year.
  • Pedestrians are endangered by our general road designs, which some places are fixing, but not many. Add several thousand more dead people. This is often children, elderly, and others while simply playing or slipping slightly into a roadway in a neighborhood or off a sidewalk. Something that should and could be entirely prevented.

That’s just the beginning. The small beginning mentioning just a few issues of our auto-dependency and the fact the US completely ignores it as a MAJOR problem. This little list above is just the things that can be directly correlated and connected to automobile usage, primarily of the combustion driven kind. Maybe some things will decrease when we get more electric vehicles out there such as cancer, benzine and poisoning. One can hope. But let’s not stop there.

Last year over 33k people were killed in cars. The year before that, 36k and the year before that 32k and before that 34k and before that… you get the point. Since the 1920s the deaths have gone up and stayed between 21k-62k per year. Direct, crash related deaths. Per capita they’ve decreased, which is good, but we still exceed 30k per year. Which means over the years, millions have been killed prematurely, a great majority of those people are young people too. More… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

That doesn’t include the 5k+ dead pedestrians every year or the 1k killed in unrelated incidents with cars every year that are still directly related to some form or another of crash.

Let’s take on another statistic. I’ve just been talking about the people who now lie dead. The dozens of thousands of dead per year, that sometimes die quickly and sometimes die agonizingly slow deaths. But what about the 3-5x as many people who are now on disability because of an automobile related incident? The now maimed, forever on disability. These people who are missing legs, arms, fingers, or worse. The two ladies waiting at a street corner, entirely innocent who were slammed into by an out of control cabbie. Lost their legs, laid screaming for help on the sidewalk after in traumatic pain and suffering. Because of one negligent fool. Now forever damned to be disabled for no reason. Well over 90k people per year are added to these ranks every year in the United States. Totally billions of dollars in costs to the medical system & taxpayers. A horrible toll for a war let alone merely trying to live one’s life. But alas, this happens and continues, unabated in every part of the United States.

All of these stats point to a massive death count, there are few things that kill more people in the United States than the automobile & it’s use. All of these stats also don’t even reach into the outer affects of auto dependency, our necessity to “stabilize” regions where oil is found. The destruction that happens because of that industry, but I won’t go on about those thousands, hundreds of thousands, or hell – millions of people that are dead because of that. But one can assuredly know they are in large part related to the United States’ obsession with the automobile.

So in the end, that’s a lot of writing I did. Which I do like to write, and research, but the whole point of this is. The United States is notoriously bad at not fixing very obvious problems. Roadways, automobiles and related killings and permanently disabling people are a prime example. Hopefully, one day the United States starts to wake up to this massive problem.

Just wanted to put throw in two cents, and put the gun violence problem into perspective. It’s a very small part of the absolutely massive issue the United States continues to ignore every day. The United States, simply, needs to get more focused on living & working better. Because right now, we’re really falling behind the developed nations of the world in huge ways.

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